When BBC Radio 4’s Material World announced a search for the UK’s top amateur scientist, the winning experiment involved one of our humblest garden pests. Ruth Brooks asked the question: Do snails have a homing instinct? The Telegraph’s Louise Gray chairs.
There are a handful of cock-ups that we remember all too well, from the Poll Tax to the Millennium Dome. However, the list is longer than most of us realize and it is growing. King explains why the British political system is quite so prone to appalling mistakes. Chaired by Martin Chilton.
Two novels explore the disturbance of the past. Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing is both a detective story and a haunting depiction of dementia. The characters in Murray’s Sugar Hall probe the secret history of a Forest of Dean mansion. Chaired by Sameer Rahim.
One of the world’s most original and provocative thinkers offers thinking tools built for the most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, consciousness and free will. Chaired by AC Grayling.
One of pop music’s most enduring figures talks about his life, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the Eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band of the decade. Along the way he tells us what it’s like to grow up in sixties Soho, go globetrotting with your best mates, make a dead pigeon fly and cause an earthquake in Finsbury Park. He talks to Martin Chilton.
In The Savages and sequel American Savage, Matt Whyman introduces readers to a family with VERY particular eating habits, while in Say Her Name, James Dawson dares to summon Bloody Mary from beyond the grave. Find out how to be funny and scary at the same time.
12+ years (YA)
What is the role of the writer in a deeply divided sectarian society? How does the writer ‘speak truth to power’ in such a society? And how does he or she contribute to the transformation of consciousness? How can writers exit their individualities and enter into a larger national space?
Event in Arabic
Dystopian futures, weird science, war. It’s all here. Be challenged, engaged and entertained with three uncompromising writers for young adults – Gemma Malley, Caroline Green and Phil Earle.
The three writers talk about why we love the dark side of life – at least in our stories. What would happen if everything was really awful? It seems to be our favourite topic. And some really awful stuff happens in all these books…
Gemma Malley’s dystopian trilogy began with the much praised The Killables and is followed by The Disappeared. Citizens of The City are graded according to how ‘Pure’ they are. Those labelled ‘K’ are deemed the most deviant and are never seen again… What happens to them, and what is happening beyond the perimeter of The City?
Caroline Green’s futuristic thriller, Cracks, was published to rave reviews. It has a very likeable protagonist whose whole past is beginning to look like fiction. Could he really be the subject of a weird scientific experiment? If he can’t even believe his own memories, what can he trust?
Phil Earle’s background working with troubled teens informed his novels Being Billy and Saving Daisy – stories of young people trying to cope with big problems in their lives which touched a chord with many readers. Heroic is also a tale of troubled lives, but this time it is the lives of young soldiers fighting in Afghanistan that take centre stage, and the difficulties a family has to cope with when a much loved brother comes home a very different person to the one who left.
Are you willing to venture into the depths of your brain? Dr Critchlow will shock your senses, read your mind and explore how current neuroscience is shaping how we see our lives. Suitable for intrepid adventurers of all ages.
The novelist revisits his classic Great War novel, first published in 1993. He describes the genesis, research and resonance of the book. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.